Manila Art 2010 was a sad reminder about how other countries don’t just have annual exhibits to celebrate art.  They have vast creative spaces that serve as permanent posts for the art of the now. 
Last year, I was able to visit  Dashanzi Art District in Beijing- a consortium of factory type buildings turned into art galleries and restaurants.

One thing that I noticed in Beijing is that the quality of art is not different from our own.  Though I have to say that they really like to focus on themes that are very Chinese.

They also use some very large canvases- perhaps, because they have a lot of money to throw around or because they like things BIG in China.

The Chinese are more playful. Maybe because they have the support to really experiment. A lot of money is being poured into the Chinese art market by the locals and by outsiders capitalizing on the waking of this exotic sleeping giant.

Also, they are more open to performance art which I have a love and hate relationship with. It's all rather strange to me but we need to be more exposed to this kind of kookiness. 

I go back to these photos because I was disappointed with Manila Art 2010. There was no sizzle in the air, just a nervous listlessness. Twice in my two hour round, I heard people say that this Manila Art was just not as successful as last year’s.   People manning the booth theorized that the public was being “ningas kugon”- a Filipino behavior that shows great enthusiasm in the beginning with no follow through to finish.

I think that if you love the country and you love art, you should support events like these. Even if you can’t buy art, it’s important that you find a way to love art.  Sure, the Mall of Asia is far but so is SoHo, the Village, the entire city of Paris. Yet we find a way to fly to those places. 

Someday, I dream we will have our own permanent space for art. The only place that I can think of where a lot of galleries converge is on the top floor of Megamall and it simply won’t do.  It’s on top of a mall for crying out loud. We need a real playground for ideas and artists. And we deserve a BIG one too!